With the AFI closing its doors on him and with the High Court making the big moves for his inclusion in the Indian team, Tejaswin Shankar may have faced a lot of bitterness before going to the Commonwealth Games, but he did not carry the negative thoughts to Birmingham.
“Very early on, you learn in sport to learn from your adversity, to adapt and to overcome. Once I landed in Birmingham, I didn’t have any ‘baggage’, the only goal I had was to give my best,” said Tejaswin, the first Indian high jumper to win a Commonwealth Games medal, in an interaction with select media on Thursday.
Making the most
“The only thought I had was how to make the most of the three days I had (in Birmingham) and I was able to observe the weather pattern. Usually by 7 or 8 p.m., the weather starts to cool down significantly and that’s when our final was. That’s the adjustment I made,” explained the 23-year-old who opened India’s medal tally in athletics with his bronze on Wednesday night..
“Initially, in the low bars, I needed to make sure that I did not have any miss because that would definitely come and bite me later on in the competition,
“That’s where I was able to get an edge over an experienced campaigner like Donald Thomas. He had some extra misses in the lower height and I knew that as it got colder, everybody would start stiffening up,” said Tejaswin who was tied with Thomas at 2.22m but won the bronze with his clean sheet with earlier heights.
While training for the high jump at the Kansas University (USA), Tejaswin had a taste of the decathlon and now he wants to try it at next year’s Asiad in China.
“ I’ve made up my mind, I want to compete in the decathlon in the Asian Games. Even if I don’t compete, I really want to continue decathlon training because that has really worked for me with the constant tendinitis in my knee,” said the national record holder (2.29m, 2018).
“I haven’t been able to jump as much as I would like to but I’ve been able to supplement my high jump training through doing a lot of long jump and hurdles activity. I feel I’ve gone from that space where I used to need a lot of high jump sessions to be a better high jumper. Now, the improvised decathlon training has really helped me with my high jump. I’ll stick to that and in due course, if I’m able to add a good score and improve my day two events, like pole vault and javelin, then I have a good shot at the Asiad.”